On August 10th, Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced his government’s resignation.
He said that he was taking “a step back” so that he can stand with the Lebanese people “and fight the battle for change alongside them.”
“I declare today the resignation of this government. May God protect Lebanon,” Diab announced.
“Today we are heeding the people and their demands to hold accountable those responsible for a disaster.”
Essentially, this isn’t so much something that Diab feels responsible for, just that international aid was tied to a “government reform”.
Diab blames his predecessors from the massive blast in Beirut that took place on August 4th.
“They (political class) should have been ashamed of themselves because their corruption is what has led to this disaster that had been hidden for seven years,” he added.
“Their corruption created this tragedy,” said Diab. “Between us and change stands a thick wall protected by their dirty tactics,” he added.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun accepted the resignation.
Earlier in the day, Health Minister Hamad Hassan told reporters that Diab was heading to the presidential palace to “hand over the resignation in the name of all the ministers.”
“The whole government resigned,” Hassan said.
France urged the “rapid formation” of a new government in Lebanon.
“The aspirations expressed by the Lebanese in terms of reforms and governance must be heard,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement following Diab’s announcement.
“The priority must be the rapid formation of a government that can live up to the expectations of the people, whose mission will be to meet the main challenges of the country, especially the reconstruction of Beirut and reforms without which the country will plunge into economic, social and political chaos,” he said.
French President Emmanuel Macron was the first Western leader to visit Beirut on August 6th. France is now looking to increase its influence in its former protectorate thanks to the “government reform.”
Violent protests erupted outside the prime minister’s office in the run-up to the scheduled speech when he would announce the resignation.
Dozens of protesters hurled stones, fireworks and Molotov cocktails at security forces who responded with several rounds of tear gas. Some demonstrators tried to scale the blast walls outside Parliament Square.
The void that’s been created in Lebanon would now mean that all sorts of international players, with France apparently being the swiftest, would attempt to increase their influence in the country and attempt to make various demands in return for assistance of some sort, financial or otherwise.
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